Nusa Lembongan

Tailor-made Travel

Yes, there are now boutique hotels in Nusa Lembongan. And each visit reveals a new patch of scrub cleared for yet another homestay or more motorbikes on the lanes. But apart from the ever-growing number of tourists, this delightful island retains its village ambience – you can sense the laidback atmosphere as soon as you wade off the boat. Even the hawkers are half-hearted. Pretty white-sand bays. Near zero cars. At just 4km long and less than 3km wide, you could walk around it on a long hot day. What more could you ever want?

The best travel tips for visiting Nusa Lembongan

Tourism has most definitely arrived in Nusa Lembongan – around seventy percent of the seven thousand population are engaged in tourism to some degree – yet it’s largely restricted to Jungutbatu village in the north (which has the most accommodation), Mushroom Bay on the west side and the Lembongan area in the south, where the hotels tend to be more upmarket. This tiny island, next to Bali is on it's way to become a popular hotspot in Indonesia.

The islanders earn a crust by seaweed farming in the aquamarine shallows. A source of agar vegetable gel and carrageenan used in cosmetics and foodstuffs, seaweed is grown on chequerboard bamboo frames and harvested after 45 days – hard, physical work with unpredictable financial rewards. Mangroves, meanwhile, fringe much of the north and east coast.

Given Nusa Lembongan’s focus on diving and surfing, a trip into the mangrove swamps that fringe the northeast coast is one of the more unusual diversions on a visit. It’s an eerie experience: boats are punted with bamboo, so there’s no engine noise to disturb the crabs and birds that inhabit the muddy forest floor – the trip is best at low tide when the roots are exposed.

© Shutterstock

Best things to do in Nusa Lembongan

The best things to do in Nusa Lembongan usually mean you're either in the water or you’re staring at it. From snorkelling to diving, kayaking to sunbathing, minimal effort is required to make the most of this tiny island.

#1 Go on a mangrove safari

A trip into Nusa Lembongan’s mangrove swamps along the northeast coast is an eerie experience: boats are punted with bamboo and there’s no engine noise to disturb the crabs and birds that inhabit the muddy forest floor. Gliding through the roots at low tide is a Zen-like affair.

#2 Have sunset drinks at Jungutbatu

Strung out along the northwest coast, Jungutbatu village spreads out along the beachfront from its core of accommodation and restaurants. The sandy beach is lovely and though it is no great shakes for swimming, it looks gorgeous at low tide, a strip of coarse golden sand that arcs before an aquamarine sea filled with wooden boats. It’s an ideal place for sunset drinks or for losing days gazing out to Gunung Agung on the north-western horizon.

Island of Lembongan and Jungutbatu village © Shutterstock

#3 Party with the day-trippers at Mushroom Bay

A crescent of white sand behind a turquoise bay, Mushroom Bay is small and charming. But when the day-trippers arrive, this small beach becomes busy with boats and hosts huge offshore party pontoons. If that all sounds too much, wander down to the beach club at Sunset Beach for much of the same but fewer people.

Mushroom Bay on Nusa Lembongan Bali Indonesia © Shutterstock

#4 Visit the Underground House at Lembongan

At the top of a steep hill is Lembongan, the largest settlement on the island and the location of the Underground House. Reminiscent of France's troglodyte caves and dug between 1961 and 1976 by Made Byasa, a local man who is said to have been inspired by the Mahabharata, it consists of several dank rooms, a well and ventilation shafts.

#5 Make peace at Pura Empuaji

You'll need your own sash and sarong to visit the most venerated temple on the island, Pura Empuaji, but it's worth it to see the two monumental ficus trees alone.

#6 Go cliff-diving at Dream Beach

The two loveliest of Bali’s beaches lie on the southwest coast but daredevils should head for Dream Beach, one of the island’s most beautiful bays with its white sand and clear, turquoise water – beware though, the currents are dangerous. This is where locals go cliff jumping – and adrenaline junkies might want to do the same. Be cautious of tide levels.

Dream beach, Nusa Lembongan © Shutterstock

#7 Witness the Devil's Tears

Between Dream and Sunset beaches is Devil's Tears, aptly named for the mist that forms from blowholes spewing water into the stratosphere with mighty force. During the day, this spot is packed with day-tour folk talking selfies but after they leave at around 5pm, stick around for magnificent crimson sunsets that reflect in the tidepools below.

Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan

The majority of places to stay on Nusa Lembongan are on the north and west coasts, with limited options to the south and east. The quality of digs is improving all the time and there are a small number of inland guesthouses and hotels popping up now too. Most people will stay in either Mushroom Bay or Jungutbatu.


Resorts are muscling in on the beach hut scene here as the accommodation in and around Jungutbatu is starting to make the best use of those sublime views of Bali over the water.

Mushroom Bay

Clusters of hotels, bungalows and villas are taking this popular stretch of paradise a dream place to stay the night.

Browse places to stay in Nusa Lembongan.

Best restaurants and bars in Nusa Lembongan

With a couple of notable exceptions – you should try and eat at Lighthouse d'Nusa Restaurant if you can – most places on Nusa Lembongan serve typical Indonesian and Western fare (pizzas, burgers). The seafood here is often good too.


Offering a mix of small, roadside cafes, decent warung and excellent sundowner spots (some complete with DJs), Jungutbatu has the most choice on the island, including a sushi joint.

Mushroom Bay

Mushroom Bay has a couple of decent seafront cafes and restaurants, but go further inland and you will find more options like coffee shops, places selling Western food, and grills.

Great waves at Devil's Tear on Nusa Lembongan © Shutterstock

How to get to Nusa Lembongan

There are over twenty daily services to Jungutbatu and eight to Mushroom Bay. All leave from either the end of Jl Hang Tuah in north Sanur or from Serangan harbour. Note that all boats anchor just off the beach, so you’re required to wade ashore; a porter may offer to carry your luggage.

By fast boat

Several private operators run speedy boats from Sanur to Lembongan. Operators include Scoot and Rocky, which both run four times a day in each direction (30min). Scoot, which departs from Jl. Hang Tua, also has a combination ticket with Gili Trawangan and Lombok. Rocky departs from Serangan harbour.

Perama operates a shuttle boat from Sanur that connects with its island-wide shuttle bus services from Sanur, Kuta, and Ubud. It runs to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida (3 times daily); book a day in advance. All three provide pick up/drop off to hotels in tourist areas. Public fast boats run from Serangan and Sanur to Lembongan (several times daily).

By slow boat

From Sanur there are irregular slow boats for Jungutbatu (2hr) and Mushroom Bay (90min), but they are unreliable and unsafe.

Mangrove beach and traditional boat in Nusa Lembongan island © Shutterstock

How many days do you need in Nusa Lembongan?

Nusa Lembongan is small, so why it is possible to whip around its highlights on a day trip from Bali, ticking off Dream Beach, the Devil's Tear overlook, and Mushroom Bay, it's better to stay for two or three nights to explore the island at your leisure. This will give you beach time, the chance to go snorkelling or diving, and squeeze in a mangrove tour as well. That said, if sunbathing is on the cards, you could easily spend a week here.

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Tips for getting around Nusa Lembongan

With very few cars, getting around tiny Nusa Lembongan is often best on foot or bike, but there are some motorised options too. Here's how to get around.

By bike or motorbike

Not needed around the villages but a good bet around Nusa Lembongan set off in a clockwise direction to avoid a killer climb south of Jungutbatu if cycling. The road is tarmac, although very broken in places. Both bikes and motorbikes can be rented through your accommodation

By golf buggy

A couple of places rent 4- or 6-seat electric golf carts for 5 or 10 hrs.

By pick-up

Some isolated restaurants in the south offer free transport with a reservation.

On foot

None of the best west-coast beaches is more than 90min from Jungutbatu.

Best time to visit Nusa Lembongan

The best time to visit Nusa Lembongan is during the dry season (April to October) as the weather is sunny and dry, with little rainfall, and the ocean is calm, making it perfect for water activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving.

July and August are peak season here, so book accommodation (and some of the better restaurants) ahead of your arrival. Your hotel will also be able to sort travel to/from the boat as well. The wet season (November to March) can make things even cheaper for visitors, but the island is humid and the downpours might put dampeners on your beach time.

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    updated 3/7/2023
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